Suits season 8 episode 1 review: Who’s the new managing partner?

Suits season 8 episode 1Who is the new managing partner? For most of Suits season 8 episode 1 on USA Wednesday night, this was the question that the writers sought out to answer — among a number of other things.

By the end of the season, we certainly don’t think it was made any clearer how in the world the show is going to feature Wendell Pierce as much as the story needs him, given that he’s not a series regular. Yet, after a massive chess game that took place between Robert Zane and Harvey Specter, Harvey eventually relented and allowed Robert, who has seniority, to be the one in charge. Yet, Harvey is still keeping his office! The back and forth between Pierce and Gabriel Macht was when Suits tonight likely shined its brightest, especially since it was basically a clash of the titans — plus each one of their second-in-commands.

For Robert, his #2 is clearly Samantha Wheeler (new regular Katherine Heigl), someone who clearly feels like an agent of chaos. The show used her just enough in the premiere — we know there were concerns coming into the episode that we were going to be inundated with too much Heigl right away, but it felt like there really was a perfect balance struck here. We got to know Samantha, but at the same time the show wasn’t strictly about her. What we do know is that she clearly tells different stories to different people, she’s manipulative, she doesn’t want people to know a lot about her, and she also has aspirations of being name partner.

To say that is problematic is an understatement, to say the least. After all, Alex Williams is the #2 for Harvey right now and he, too, has name partner aspirations. Harvey’s also promised him that he is next line. That’s going to be a problem if Samantha overtakes him. (If there’s one criticism we’d offer here, it’s that we wish we got to see more of Alex away from the firm this week, beyond just learning that he likes to run.)

You can argue that in the end, the new series regular actually featured the most tonight was Amanda Schull’s Katrina Bennett, who decided that she wanted the responsibility of having to fire people — which she first approached from an analytical perspective. She ran numbers, but with the help of Donna (and a stubborn Louis, who refused to let her fire one of his favorite associates in Brian), she eventually figured out that having a big heart and boosting morale is as important as the amount of work you pull in. Brian’s value wasn’t clear in all of the numbers. She may not have wanted to fire someone else in his place, but the scene in which she did so was almost akin to watching her open her eyes for the first time to a complicated, sometimes-harsh new world.

CarterMatt Verdict

Do we miss Mike and Rachel still? Absolutely, and there is a part of us that wishes Suits spent a few more minutes actually remembering that they were gone. Yet, simultaneously we understand why they didn’t since the show must go on and you don’t need to focus on them all the time to make it clear that they’re missed. You could see it in Harvey’s behavior. (We do, however, wish there was something more addressed on the Darvey front; ignoring it altogether feels like a missed opportunity.)

Despite some of our concerns and a few missteps, Suits season 8 felt very much still like the show we loved — there’s work to do, but Aaron Korsh and the writers do enough in this premiere to make us recognize that there is definitely life left still in this franchise.

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Related Check out some more news regarding Suits, including a preview for what’s coming next!

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